KEM CEHAJIC Special To The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The one trait our North Durham United Football Club teams always seem to show is the ability to play hard and determined, no matter what the score is. This is exactly what happened this past week, as the results weren't what the teams were looking for, but the players all competed until the final whistle.
It is quite amazing to see how well the North Durham teams have done this season, and in past years going up against clubs that have tens of thousands more players to choose from, mostly due to their effort and determination along with skill and quality coaching.
The U16 girls went up against their rivals Benfica FC last week and played a complete game, coming out with a well deserved 1-1 draw. Scoring for the local girls was Kaitlyn I, as she played a great team game, with some honest physical work, helping the NDUFC team pass the Benfica team in the standings. This is a great confidence booster, sponsored by Life's Journey Financial Services, as they prepare for their cup match in Darlington next week.
The U12 Girls played some fantastic soccer this weekend in Orangeville, at the Storm the Field Festival.
They enjoyed playing a couple of teams from SC Toronto, in which they demonstrated grit and determination. The girls came out with two positive results and had a great time. The team is led by head coach Anthony Corey and sponsored by Amico. Way to go girls, everyone has been playing awesome this year, keep it up.
The European Championship round of 16 has played true to form so far, as the favourites are getting through. The biggest surprise of the round so far, was seeing Portugal score a late goal, beating the skilled Croatian team. The surprise wasn't so much the result, as it was that the game was played at a snail's pace, which was a shame for the two highly skilled clubs.
NORTH DURHAM: Thousands of Ontario children are going to have the chance to fall in love with hockey this season, thanks to the announcement of 55 First Shift programs coming to Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) minor hockey associations.
The First Shift is designed to break down barriers a family may face when thinking about participating in hockey, ensuring a welcoming, safe, affordable and fun experience for those new to hockey. Boys and girls, from 6-10 years of age, are outfitted in Bauer equipment, from head-to-toe, and receive six on ice learn-to-play sessions.
“The ability to welcome so many new families to this great game is such a gift," says Tony Foresi, OHF President. "We are humbled to have so many minor hockey associations, eager to take on The First Shift to help grow hockey at the grassroots level.”
Hockey Canada and Bauer are committed to bring 1,000,000 new families to the sport of hockey over the next 10 years. In the program's third year of existence, The First Shift is well on its way to reaching its goal and successfully transitioning participants into minor hockey associations across the country.
There are over 2,300 positions available to participants across the OHF, stretching from St. Catharines to Iroquois Falls (the complete list is included below). The majority of the programs will be hosted in the fall, with an additional 14 running in the winter.
Fall Programs: Greater London, St. Catharines, London Devillettes, Jordan Station, Chapleau, Thessalon, Manitoulin, Iroquois Falls, Oshawa, Milton, Ingersoll, Tavistock, Guelph, Leamington, Belle River, Port Perry, Brantford (Burford), Newmarket, Guelph Girls, Cambridge Girls, Norwich, Northumberland, Aurora, Wainfleet, Trenton, Belleville, Bradford, Brampton (2 sessions), Essex, Belleville Girls, Frontenac Girls, Flamborough, Georgina (Keswick), Duffield, Weston Minor, Mississauga (3 sessions), Scarborough, Thornhill. Winter Programs: Greater London, St. Catharines, Tavistock, Guelph, Port Perry, Oshawa, Norwich, Brampton, Guelph Girls, Waterloo Girls, Frontenac Girls, Shelburne, Mississauga (2 sessions).
KEM CEHAJIC Special To The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The boys and girls in gold and black all had a busy week with games, tournaments, and practice sessions in the heat of late spring.
The younger players played hard and had fun as they prepared for and played in the LTPD (Long Term Player Development) festivals throughout the region. The five North Durham United Football Club squads, playing in the older competitive categories, had a very busy and successful week, going up against some well established clubs, from Cobourg all the way out to Collingwood.
The U13 Girls kept rolling along this season, with a terrific week of results. The team beat Richmond Hill by a lopsided 7-0 count, in league play. Team defense accounted for the shutout. The goals came from six different players, Talia S, Nikki S, Brittany H, Briar G, Maya K and Ashley A; with Ashley finding the back of the net and potting two. The girls also found success in their Cup game, with a 5-0 victory over Peterborough. Nikki S and Brittany H each had a pair of goals, with a fifth provided by Jessica T.
The Cup tournament, is a season long head to head competition, for all teams in each age group, regardless of what level they are competing in. Each match is a one game battle, that goes to penalty shots if tied after regulation, and is like playing a game seven each time out. Winners advance to the next round, losers are out of the tournament.
The U15 G are also still rolling, with a hard fought 1-1 draw against a skilled Cavan team. Emma V found the net, and all of the members of the NDUFC team worked hard, challenging for the ball all game long.
The U16 boys were in Peterborough over the weekend, for a tournament the team uses as a great way to work on things for the rest of the season. Despite playing in a group that had some of the North Durham players playing against opponents that were three years older, the boys acquitted themselves with pride, in conceding just three goals all weekend. Regardless of the heat, and having to go up against the older players, all the boys did a great job and are ready for league play this week.
The Euros are just about finished with the opening round, and the strongest teams look to be Spain, France, and Italy. A club that has yet to play up to their potential, due to injuries and over-enthusiastic fans, are the colourful Croatians. Knockout stage matches begin at the end of the week.
Toronto FC came away with a big 1-0 win over LA last Saturday, in front of over 30,000 fans. In a tough win in the heat and without a couple of key players, TFC look to continue earning points in their upcoming matches in hopes of securing a playoff spot at the end of the season.
ROB DRAL The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Campbell Dr. Playground saga has finally come to an end.
During a Council Meeting on Monday, June 20, councillors approved a recommendation from Ward 4 Councillor Fred Bryan, to reverse the decision to build a playground on Campbell Drive and to leave it the way it is.
Back in January, a group of residents came to council, claiming 70 percent of the residents in the neighbourhood wanted to see a new playground on Campbell Dr.. The proposed playground was approved, with $20,000 in funding from Uxbridge and an additional $13,000 raised by the pro-park group.
In May, a separate deputation was heard from a group that was opposed to the playground being built.
This controversy led to Councillor Bryan sending letters to all the houses on Campbell Dr. and Cemetery Rd., asking for feedback of either yes or no to a playground being built on Campbell Dr..
Letters had to be back by June 10, and in a 60/40 split, residents voted to leave the park the way it is. Just under 100 letters were received, out of the 137 letters sent out. “I am confident in the results that came in that this is what the majority wants,” said Councillor Bryan.
The $20,000 put away for the playground will be returned to the Parks, Facilities, and Arena reserves. According to Councillor Bryan, Uxbridge staff will be contacting residents that donated money towards the playground and either return their money or put it towards something else, such as taxes.
KEM CEHAJIC Special To The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The first full week of June was a busy one for the North Durham United Football Club teams, as the soccer season is in full flight.
The younger boys and girls can be seen on the fields in Uxbridge and Port Perry, working on their skills in practice, as they prepare for their respective upcoming festivals. The same goes for the older kids as their teams are well into league play, along with tournaments and impending cup matches this month.
The U14 girls, coming off a fantastic tournament win in Peterborough, continued their strong play with a 3-2 road victory against a very good Peterborough Boom club. Scoring for the gold & black were Ericka Vanhezewijk with a pair and Brooklyn Vera with the other, putting the NDUFC team in a tie for first place in the U15 division. The U18 boys played a great game against Ajax FC last week, but came up just short in a 3-2 final. A late goal was the difference in a very evenly played game that saw goals by Keegan Mulroy and Matt Civello for the home-side North Durham team. The results have been tough to come by this year for the club's most senior team, but every game is a battle and the scores will turnaround for this hard working and proud group.
Another great result was achieved by the always relentless U16 boys, who hosted Northumberland United last week at the Scugog Soccer Fields. The boys, sponsored by The Trading Post, dominated most of the night and earned a 3-0 victory with a total team performance from beginning to end. Griffin Anderson, Carter Cannon and Gibson Baird found the back of the net with the shutout provided by a steady David Hoover. All 17 players came out to play on this windy and wet evening, and the victory vaults the club into a tie for first place in the league. A special mention to forward Owen Collins who played a strong game, and despite being two years younger than most of his opponents on the field, competed hard for every ball and created havoc for the other team's defense.
Great results for Canada's men's and women's national teams last week with wins for both of them. The women beat Brazil 1-0 on a last second goal in Ottawa and the men were 2-1 winners over Uzbekistan in a game played over in Austria. Toronto FC got past Montreal 4-2, on aggregate, to get into the 2nd stage of Cup play. The team will face Vancouver in the finals of the Canadian portion, with the winner going into the CONCACAF portion later in the year.
DARRYL KNIGHT Special To The Standard
DURHAM: Three world championship matches will headline the action when the superstars of the WWE return to Oshawa's General Motors Centre next month as part of the SummerSlam Heatwave Tour.
The action takes place on the evening of Friday, July 8, with the WWE returning to Durham Region after a sold-out show at the GM Centre last year.
Matches were recently announced, with WWE champion Roman Reigns taking on AJ Styles and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat match for the WWE championship in the main event.
As well, Charlotte will defend her Women's championship against Natalya, and the 'New Day' look to fend off challengers 'The Vaudvillains' in a Tag Team championship clash. Canada's own Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens continue their feud in another recently announced match.
Other superstars scheduled to appear include, Intercontinental champion - 'The Miz', Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, 'The Usos', Sheamus and Cesaro.
Limited tickets are still available, starting at only $15, and are available on-line at generalmotorscentre.com, by phone at 1-877-436-8811 or at the General Motors Centre Box Office.
KEM CEHAJIC Special To The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The season has just begun and already we have a team of champions.
The U14 girls team competed in the always difficult, Peterborough Soccer Tournament over the weekend and dominated from their first game all the way to winning the final match against host Peterborough.
The girls drew one game and won all the others on their way to the trophy, as they relied on determined forwards, hard-working midfielders, relentless defence and courageous goalkeeping. The team, nicknamed the Stingers, sponsored by Silvermoon Masonry Ltd. As head coach Rob Magnante said, "The girls played with determination, skill and tactics, but above all they played as a team". A great job by the young players, the coaches and parents are very proud of all of you.
Two more NDUFC teams entered the Peterborough Soccer Festival and did a fine job, as the U10 and U12 girls played extraordinary soccer while having a fun time. The U16 boys competed in the Stratford Tournament over the weekend and were up against clubs from higher levels and against players that were 1 or 2 years older than the boys in gold. The team lost just one game in the preliminary and made it all the way to the semi-finals, where they lost a close game 2-0 against powerhouse Kitchener.
Parents and players enjoyed a fun weekend including swimming, a team dinner and more laughs than at a comedy show. This came after the boys tied Cavan 2-2 in their season opener earlier in the week.
Goals by Liam Wilks and Carter Cannon along with brilliant goalkeeping by David Hooper, helped the team get a great start for the season.
Other games this past week saw the U13G go to Cavan, also, and come back with a 3-1 victory with goals by Jessica Thomson, Nikki Stewart and Paige Deneve. The U16G picked up a hard-fought tie in Oshawa, with goals coming from Carley Brawn and Abigail MacDonald. A 2-2 result was earned by the U16B against Unionville on Saturday. Maxwell Turner and Quinton Hudgins scored goals, while all the young men worked hard throughout a physical and competitive game.
Canada's Women's National soccer team played a friendly game against Brazil last weekend and were off from their usual top-notch play in losing 2-0.
The game was held at BMO Stadium down by the Exhibition grounds and the nearly 29,000 fans came out to watch, as both teams prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Uxbridge S.S. Tigers senior boys rugby team was in seventh heaven on Friday, May 27, after clinching the school's seventh consecutive LOSSA league title, and a berth in the OFSAA provincial championship.
The Tigers continued their undefeated season with a 30-5 drubbing of Dunbarton (Pickering) in the championship game at Thompson Park, in Raglan. The win earned the Tigers a berth in this week's OFSAA provincial championships in Markham, where Uxbridge enters as the top-ranked squad, spending much of the season atop Rugby Ontario's high school rankings.
Head coach Paul Connelly noted that the team faced tough competition in the championship game, relying on excellent defence to control the pace of the game.
"This has been an excellent team all season, and we weren't at our best today, and that had a lot to do with Dunbarton," Connelly told The Standard. "Our defence was outstanding today, and that was the difference for us. The team really wanted this win, and maybe we were a little too amped up to start the game."
The Tigers will now move to square off against the province's top competition in pursuit of the school's second provincial championship, having previously brought home gold in 2011.
Connelly noted that the team has had extra motivation following last year's season being wiped out due to the labour dispute between the province and teachers.
"Last year, we felt like we had a team that was definitely going to compete for a championship, and that's been a big motivator this season. We want to finish what we started, and take care of business this year," added Connelly.
On the pitch, the team was led by captain Robert “Reg" Freckelton, a member of Canada's junior national team. Freckelton credited his time with the top young players in the country, as well as a stint training in British Columbia for taking his game to a new level this season.
"Spending time with the national team has been a huge help with understanding the game and techniques, and I've tried to bring that back and add to being a leader for this team. I'd rather play and win with a Tiger on my jersey than anything."
Freckelton added that the team has risen to the occasion this year as the top-ranked team.
"Being number-one has given us a boost in confidence, but we still have to go out and play the game the right way. No team takes us lightly, and we get everyone's best shot. We knew that we'd have to step it up this year, and we've had a lot of great leadership."
The Tigers will be competing at OFSAA, at Fletcher's Field in Markham, from June 2 to 4. Uxbridge opens play on Thursday, at noon against Lawrence Park.
For more details, including a complete schedule, please visit www.ofsaa.on.ca/boys-aaa-rugby.
For all rugby updates follow @darrylknight on Twitter.
KEM CEHAJIC Special To The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The games have started for the North Durham United Football Club teams and a great day at the Scugog Fields was the perfect way to kick things off.
The club held Photo Day last Saturday with all the boys and girls taking individual and team pictures, and the traditional group photo for all the players, coaches, managers and board members. There were ball jugglers, prizes from Toronto FC, shooting competitions, and a delicious BBQ that was enjoyed by all. A super job was done in organizing the event and thanks to all the volunteers and board members who made the day happen, especially club president Doug Beard.
The boys U16 team went up to Georgina for a day of paint balling as a team bonding event, and true to the way the team plays on the soccer field, it was a fun and very competitive day in the sweltering heat.
The team, sponsored by The Trading Post, kicks off this year's campaign on the road in Cavan this week.
The U16 girls had their season opener last week against powerhouse King City. Even though the girls were on the wrong side of the score at the final whistle, they put in a great effort and look to be stronger next time out. It was a fantastic start to the season for the U10 girls, as they played a terrific game against Peterborough. The girls, known as the "Annihilators", outscored their opponents in a back and forth, highly entertaining game which produced a total of 14 goals. The team is sponsored by Broadway Motors and relied on great team play, which bodes well for the rest of the season.
As for our TFC, things are looking a bit glum. Captain Bradley is away for a month with the US national team, league MVP Giovinco is injured and the team is coming off a 3-0 loss in New York. Time for the rest of the team to step up and carry the load for the next few weeks.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: With one championship already in the books this season, the Uxbridge S.S. Tigers senior girls rugby team was looking to bring home a provincial gold medal this week.
After rolling through LOSSA league play, culminating with a 31-22 win in a 'Battle of North Durham' championship game win over Port Perry H.S., the Tigers advanced to the OFSAA provincial championships, being contested this week, in Ottawa.
Uxbridge came into the tournament ranked second, as they had been for much of the season in Rugby Ontario's high school rankings and opened play with a 10-8 victory over Glebe (Ottawa) on Monday, May 30.
As head coach Chris McKee explained, the team has relied heavily on youth as the Tigers have battled injuries throughout the season.
“This is one of the youngest teams we've had, with only three Grade 12s playing heading into OFSAA, the rest are in Grade 10 and 11, and they've taken their game to another level," McKee told The Standard.
"We've struggled and battled with injuries to key players all year, but the girls have a lot of heart and athletic ability, and we've steadily improved our game."
For more details on the tournament, as well as updated results, please visit www.ofsaa.on.ca/girls-aaa-rugby.